I’m wondering this evening, as European ministers and politicians various meet somewhere abroad to agree once more that they do not agree about the euro – and, especially, that they do not agree on how to make it just that little bit more palatable to the markets – whether the markets have any right to determine the future of anything.
The news about Barclays, for example, just gets worse and worse. Whilst in the US, the Justice Department agreed not to prosecute individuals at Barclays when it slapped on its hefty fines (more here with what appears to be original documentation in .pdf format), this evening I discover, as I watch Nick Robinson on the BBC, that there is actually no specific British law at the UK end of things under which the interbank rate-fixing scam could end up being prosecuted. It is apparently hoped in police circles – and presumably in the rest of the country – that general anti-fraud legislation could be used instead. If, that is, the FSA or the police don’t decide to go down the route of the US Justice Department’s unhappy let-off.
I’m afraid on that issue, words are beginning to fail me. There is only a certain number of expletives one can toss in the general direction of computer and TV screens. That maximum number, at least for me, was reached this morning.
Meanwhile, on a slightly separate matter, Norman argues that because universities are populated by Marxist researchers doing their level best to undermine capitalist society, it’s not fair to describe such institutions as “unabashed instruments of capital”. In the light of the Barclays scandal – and what I presume to be the heavy involvement of similar banking institutions in the administration of the latterday student loans system – and whilst there might have been a time I might have been more sympathetic to the position he holds, I don’t think it’s fair to deny the assertion any more. It seems pretty evident now that ever since New Labour introduced tuition fees and extended the requirement to take on student loans, universities have been working hand-in-glove with corrupt organisations to fleece and – whether intentionally or not – socially engineer our youth so that they become accustomed to the idea of acquiring an indebted state for what is often an educationally poor provision of learning resources. As the NUS have recently suggested:
Liam Burns, the president of the National Union of Students, is calling for university lecturers to be forced to acquire teaching qualifications to ensure that students paying tuition fees are getting the most out of their degrees.
With three-year courses now costing up to £27,000 in fees, Burns says universities should recognise that they need to improve the standards of teaching in seminars and lectures, including those delivered by postgraduate students, who are increasingly used as a cheap alternative to professional academics by cash-starved institutions.
So there we have it. On the one hand, a complex price-fixing scam in the banking sector for which no relevant law exists in order to prosecute; on the other, an absence of recognised qualifications for services provided by the universities on the back of a tripling of tuition fees generated to make even more money for both themselves and the Barclays of this world.
As well as serving to prepare their future clients for that slippery slope down to an onerously unending – and long ago socially accepted – indebtedness.
You remember when they used to talk about the military-industrial complex? You know the sort of thing:
Military–industrial complex, or Military–industrial-congressional complex, is a concept commonly used to refer to policy and monetary relationships between legislators, national armed forces, and the defense industrial base that supports them. These relationships include political contributions, political approval for defense spending, lobbying to support bureaucracies, and oversight of the industry. It is a type of iron triangle.
Well how about we start talking about the banking-industrial complex? I really think it’s time we did, you know.
And time we had a Leveson-style inquiry to lay it bare.
This is not just a few rogue traders; a few rotten apples; a few corked bottles of champagne. People have committed individual crimes against society – but the biggest crime committed is systematically against the very concept of the free market.
Our trust in the free market is becoming non-existent – and quite rightly so.
And it’s the banking-industrial complex, and all those who have their snouts in the troughs they fabricate, and here I include the universities and educational institutions which expand on the back of debilitating financial misery, which is finally destroying – where Communism and socialism failed to – any vestiges of confidence in the system it supposedly supported all these years.
“Unabashed instruments of capital”? The phrase is spot-on. Instruments of capital – not instruments of the free market. And their reach and their tentacles and their sad ability to corrupt everyone and everything they touch is what is destroying a civilisation which – in hindsight – only ever achieved a superficiality of apparently radical and thoughtful education.